The introduction of the new metaphor flowline induced the news organization to break free from the old deadline regime, where the print product governed most parts of the organization, to a highly successful ‘online first’ production mode, that surprisingly benefits also the print production. Flowline is thus both a technological shift and a shift in mentality – and it is the latter that we throughout years of researching media organizations have seen newsrooms struggle with. A key for efficient organizing of the work flow in newsrooms is synchronized production and distribution – what we call flowline, rather than the differentiated and punctuated time frames of deadline production.

Do you need FLOWLINE?

Test yourself part I: Compare timelines

 

Print out the statistics for you daily digital traffic on different platforms (mobile, desktop, tablet) for weekdays and weekends. Example below.

Wednesday

Saturday

Sunday

 

Use an empty time line (download here) and fill in the level of activity throughout the day for:

  • working hours (when are people at work)
  • meetings (when are you in meetings)
  • source contact (when are your source available)
  • publication times (when are stories published on different platforms)?

Example of filled in timeline for when different kinds of sources are available.

Red=public sources

Green=sports/culture

Orange=students

Blue=people in general

 

Compare the different timelines. Is there correlation or discrepancy between when you publish and when you are being read? Are you stuck in meetings when your sources are avilable to you?

If the timelines add up: congratulations! You already have a well-adjusted production flow.

If not: check out here how to implement the Six Step process to go from deadline to flowline in your organization

The aim for the change of temporal regimes was to support the newsrooms in achieving a more stable and predictable everyday production in sync with their audience’s expectations of when news should be available, through elaborating imaginatively the implications of time regimes in their everyday work life as a way to improve their present work flow.
So, if you want to connect with your audience or target group, first figure out what their “flow” is. Then you can change the mindset of the production line, into a work flow that is free of the non-digital constraints. The added benefit in the newsrooms that implemented flowline was that the employees reported less stress and reduced anxiety. They simply got a better work life, in the matter of less than a month.

Find out more about FLOWLINE:

Article about flowline (Norwegian). Hagen, A. L., Tolstad, I. M., & Bygdås, A. L. "Fra deadline til flowline".

Chapter 3 about flowline in our book: Media Management and Digital Transformation (English)

Listen to our podcast episode about flowline